By Matt Snyder
Rangers at Cardinals, 7:05 p.m. CT, Busch Stadium, St. Louis. Rangers lead series, 3-2.
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals are in a familiar position: Their backs are against the wall. For pretty much all of September the Cardinals were in "win every game" mode and then also trailed the Phillies two games to one in the NLDS. Thus far, they've come through every single time when they've had to. Will the magic happen again? If so, they'll win Games 6 and 7 in front of their hometown fans and bring home an 11th World Series title. And Game 6 starter Jaime Garcia has been here before.
"It feels the same way that it did the first playoff game that I pitched this year, same exact feeling," Garcia said, when asked about pitching in a do-or-die game. "Obviously this is the World Series, a little different, but to me personally, I try not to put extra pressure on myself or extra expectations. I'm just going to basically go out there and do my thing."
"Going through that process in the month of September, the last five or six starts that I made in the season, I kind of had the same mentality that I've had since the playoffs started."
|World Series Coverage|
Rangers Game 6 starter Colby Lewis has been here before, kind of. He was the pitcher for the clinching game against the Yankees in last season's ALCS.
"Well, you definitely think when you're in a kid you want to be in this position, be on this stage to go to the World Series," Lewis said. "I think just being in the situation that we were last year throughout the playoffs, you know, gives you more of an edge, more relaxation, that's for sure, because knowing what's expected or you know how to react to certain things."
Also, which series star will carry the offensive load? Mike Napoli and Albert Pujols are the obvious MVP candidates for the series right now; it only depends on which team wins.
Something has to give. Either the Rangers are going to lose two in a row or the Cardinals are going to finally be defeated. Whichever team survives will be the champion.
Garcia vs. Rangers: Garcia thoroughly dominated the Rangers in Game 2, working seven shutout innings while giving up just three hits and one walk. He struck out seven. He looked every bit as masterful as the stat line suggests. That's the only time he's ever seen the Rangers, so no regular has more than three at-bats against him. Not surprisingly, no one has more than one hit against Garcia, either.
Lewis vs. Cardinals: Lewis went 6 2/3 innings in Game 2, allowing just four hits and one earned run. And remember, that one run scored after he was out of the game -- as Alexi Ogando had entered to face Allen Craig and gave up an RBI single for the second straight night. No expected Cardinals starters have seen Lewis more than four times except Lance Berkman, who is just 2-for-15 against Lewis.
|1||Ian Kinsler||2B||1||Rafael Furcal||SS|
|2||Elvis Andrus||SS||2||Skip Schumaker||CF|
|3||Josh Hamilton||LF||3||Albert Pujols||1B|
|4||Michael Young||1B||4||Lance Berkman||RF|
|5||Adrian Beltre||3B||5||Matt Holliday||LF|
|6||Nelson Cruz||RF||6||David Freese||3B|
|7||Mike Napoli||C||7||Yadier Molina||C|
|8||Craig Gentry||CF||8||Nick Punto||2B|
|9||Colby Lewis||RHP||9||Jaime Garcia||LHP|
• The following starting pitchers will be available in relief for Game 6, per their managers' statements Wednesday: Derek Holland, C.J. Wilson (maybe, but if it goes to Game 7, "he certainly will be available for the seventh one," said Washington.), Edwin Jackson, Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook (who had already been pitching out of the bullpen). Also, in an answer that was met with laughter, La Russa said the following when asked if Chris Carpenter was available in relief in Game 6: "No chance ... little chance."
• Nick Punto is 2-for-4 with a walk against Lewis.
• Jon Jay has struggled mightily at the plate this postseason, as he's hitting just .157/.246/.196. In the World Series, he's 0-for-14. Thus, Skip Schumaker is getting the start in center.
• The World Series has been a 3-2 margin 61 previous times, and in 41 of those, the team with the 3-2 lead has gone on to win it all.
• Napoli has nine RBI so far in the series. The record for an entire World Series is 12, set by Bobby Richardson in the 1960 Fall Classic. With one more RBI, Napoli will tie Sandy Alomar Jr. and Yogi Berra for the most RBI by a catcher in the World Series. Also, no one has driven home at least nine since Alomar Jr. and Moises Alou both did so in 1997.
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